A university survey released on Tuesday, reported that around three-quarters of people in Australia were affected by the country’s most recent bush fires, either directly or indirectly.
Bush fires across the country have rendered more than 12 million hectares of land in Australia since September.
The poll found that 14 per cent of respondents were directly impacted by the fires, meaning their property had been lost, damaged or threatened by fire, or advised to evacuate.
Some 64 per cent cited an indirect impact, for example exposure to smoke, being forced to change travel plans, feeling worried due to fires, or having a friend or family member with damaged or threatened property.
This, it said, would correspond to more than 18 million people.
Lead researcher, Prof. Nicholas Biddle, noted that many Australians would be living with the effects for years and years to come.
The Australian National University, ANU, poll also found that the Federal Government’s response to the bush fires had seen Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval ratings take a hit.
The study found Morrison’s confidence score decreased from 5.25 out of 10 in June to 3.92 out of 10 in January.
“I’ve got a thick skin and there was quite a pile-on over the summer and I know people were feeling pretty natural because I was there,” Morrison said.
Also, half of the respondents said that the environment was the most or second most important issue for Australia.
More than 3,000 people were surveyed over two weeks from January 20.